Influential of Ignored? The Role of Fishermen in Management of the Nova Scotia Lobster Industry [graduate project].
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The Atlantic Canadian lobster industry is the highest valued fishery in Canada, with Nova Scotia landings representing more than half of the total industry value. As catches have steadily risen over the past decade, the lobster fishery represents one of the most successful fisheries, past or present, within Atlantic Canada. The industry supports many coastal communities and plays an important role in the livelihoods of many families who participate in the harvesting, processing, transporting, or selling of lobster. While Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) uses advisory committees as well as other forms of consultation with industry, there is no framework in place to advance participation, so that fishermen can become more engaged in making final management decisions. This results in inconsistencies in terms of the levels to which fishermen’s concerns are addressed in management of the fishery. Using the study area of Eastern Nova Scotia, semi-structured interviews were conducted with fishermen from four lobster-fishing areas (LFAs) to provide insights into current participatory and decision-making practices. Barriers to fishermen participation in management were also identified by those interviewed. A literature review was completed to identify aspects of participatory management regimes that could be used within management and decision-making for the Atlantic lobster fishery. Observations were made regarding the success of the industry thus far stemming from participatory practices, as well as ways to enhance these practices to ensure the future viability of the fishery.